Six Ways to Celebrate Summer 2019 in Sonoma County

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Carey Sweet
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Paddle the Russian River

Two guys in canoes on the Russian River.

The 2019 boating season started May 4, with Russian River Adventures/SOAR leading the way along the most secluded section of the beautiful river flowing from the Healdsburg launch site to the return shuttle ride lot. You’ll navigate through gorgeous forestland and vineyard view properties and along beaches and meadows with no buildings, no roads, and nothing but nature all around. Inflatable canoes are comfortable and easy to steer, and bonus – they can hold large ice chests so you can bring along your picnic and drinks including beer and wine. Bring your pup, too – the SOAR store rents doggie life jackets.

Details: 20 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg

Sip Cider in Sebastopol

Chickens and little girl at Horse & Plow Cidery
Chickens at Horse & Plow Cidery

Horse & Plow Cidery celebrates coveted Gravenstein apples, that sweetly tart heritage fruit that makes its home in Sebastopol (one of the only places in the world where the apple thrives). Cidery owners Suzanne Hagins and Chris Condos make several boutique batch ciders, including the crisp, dry Gravenstein recipe, a floral Hops & Honey made with wildflower honey champagne yeast, and delicately yeasty Farmhouse that’s a mouthwatering blend of Sonoma County grown Belle du Boskoop, Spitzenburg, Northern Spy, York, Newtown Pippin, King of Tompkins, Black Twig, Arkansas Black, Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russet and Kingston Black apples. Enjoy a flight in the tasting room that’s an old barn converted into a stylish lounge and art gallery, or relax on the patio amid free-range chickens, flowers and redwoods. The chickens are smart, too, so you can bring your leashed pup to join the fun, too. And check out the kids’ menu, including nibbles like cheese and crackers, and organic non-alcoholic cider.

Details: 1272 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol

Admire the Ocean

Interior of Timber Cove Resort

The drive to Timber Cove Resort is an exhilarating one, hugging Highway 1 on the edge of the cliffs soaring above the crashing waves and jagged rocks of the Sonoma Coast. But just a bit north of Fort Ross and Jenner awaits a miniature town with a very big reason to visit: this secluded resort and its Coast Kitchen restaurant. Recently renovated for a more modern lodge mood, the mid-century modern gem offers rooms with ocean or forest views. Most rooms have fireplaces or skylights, and they all include a record player, eco-friendly Lather bath amenities, a tea kettle with pour-over Russian River Roasters coffee, and the drama of ancient wood trim against crisp white bedding. The restaurant is celebrated for its rustic luxury charm and extraordinary ocean views from floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining room – indeed, guests travel from all over for a spectacular cliffside meal, relaxing before a roaring fire in the huge stone fireplace in The Great Room, then taking a brisk, post-dinner stroll in the crisp Pacific air.

Details: 1780 North Coast Highway 1, Jenner

Sing Along with a Broadway Musical

Performers on stage at Transcendence Theatre Company.
Photo by Rebecca Cal

Transcendence Theatre Company debuts its 2019 Broadway Under the Stars season with its first full production of a Broadway musical, the famous "A Chorus Line." The show, held in the beautiful winery ruins at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen runs on select weekend nights from June 14 to June 30, 2019, in a salute to the original that won nine Tony Awards and received the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The annual shows are quite popular: For the past eight years, the theater company has played to mostly sold-out audiences, who gather for pre-show picnics and wine tasting. Guests can bring their own food, or purchase from local gourmet food trucks and vendors, while wines are offered by Sonoma County wineries. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with live orchestration, music and dance performed by Broadway professionals under a star filled sky in the Valley of the Moon. And plan for more summer fun: three other shows run July 19 through Sept. 8; check the website for productions.

Details: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen

Let the Kids Run Free

Carousel at Howarth Park.

Kids of all ages can burn off energy at the wonderful Howarth Park in Santa Rosa, a 152-acre East Side treasure with modern play structures, a train, a 30-horse carousel shining with 1,000 lights, petting zoo barn, pony rides, bounce house, and a boathouse where you can rent a sailboat, canoe, or paddleboat for cruising the park's Lake Ralphine. First built in the 1950s, the park offers theme adventures, too, including an Old West town, a Native American village, and a rock climbing wall area.

Details: 630 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa

Go Fishing

Photo of boy holding fish from Hagemann Ranch.

It’s a classic summertime thrill, as you catch a big fish at the Hagemann Ranch Trout Farm, a 500-acre sheep and cattle ranch nestled between the towns of Bodega and Bodega Bay off Highway 1. The fishing pond is stocked with lots of rainbow trout, the bait and tackle shop provides all the fishing equipment, and staff will even clean and bag your fish on ice for you. Bring a picnic and plan a day of adventure for kids and adults of all ages.

Details: 18797 Highway 1, Bodega